| Adeyemi Adeoye
NigComSat -1R has successfully replaced the NigComSat-1 as Nigeria’s major communication satellite. The newly launched NigComSat-1R was sent into orbit Monday December 19 after the NigComSat-1 was de-orbited due to malfunctions of Solar Array Deployment Assembly, SADA, on November 10, 2008 was recorded.
President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed his delight at the launch and has said it will serve as a step forward in the march towards a modern technologically-driven knowledge society.
President Jonathan said, while congratulating the nation, that the country is keeping up with the time frame of activities contained in the country’s 25 year National Space Development Road Map.
The China Great Walls Industry Corporation was responsible for the building of the satellite and hoisted it in collaboration with their insurance companies who are committed to provide another satellite at no additional cost for the country.
The launch was on a Long March 3B, LM-3B, launch vehicle from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre located in South West China, as the spacecraft entered the predefined orbit of perigee being 200 km, apogee 41991 km and inclination 24.8.
NigComSat-1R spacecraft is built on Dong Fang Hong 4, DFH-4, satellite bus developed by China Academy of Space Technology, CAST, and launched by LM-3B launch vehicle developed by China Academy of Launch Vehicle, CALT.
While China Satellite Launch Tracking and Control General, CLTC, will provide tracking, control and ground segment support for the programme, there are two ground stations in Abuja Nigeria, and Kashi, China.
NigComSat-1R is the 8th satellite built on the DFH-4 bus for in-orbit delivery and the NigComSat-1R launch is the 18th flight of LM-3B launch vehicle and the 154th flight in the series of the Long March launchers.
50 Nigcomsat engineers were responsible for carrying out the project spending the last 31 months in the Asian country. The satellite has over 15 years life-span and was put in place for the needs of telecommunications, maritime, defense, broadcast media in Africa and parts of Europe as well as Asia. It has 28 active transponders, and quad band of Ku, ka, C-Band and L-band.
Elated Managing Director of Nigcomsat Limited, Engr. Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai, said: “This is mission fulfilled.”
Minister of Communications and Technology,Mrs Omobola Johnson ,and her Science and Technology counterpart, Prof. Okon Bassey; Senator Gilbert Nnaji, Chairman, Senate Committee on Communication; House members, Nigcomsat-1R project Director and Executive Director, Marketing, Abimbola Alale and Chief Executive of LASACO Insurance Plc, Mr. Sola Ladipo-Ajayi, were all present at the launch.
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